San Francisco-based startup Outdoorsy today (Aug. 20) announced the launch of the first-ever community-driven marketplace bridging the gap between the fast-growing demand for rental RVs and the people who supply them.
After a successful beta program in California, RV inventory will now be available for rent in all 50 states, the company announced in a release. Outdoorsy looks to capitalize on privately owned RVs that go unused by helping their owners offer them to non-RVers for rental.
“There are 16 million RVs in the world, and every one of those owners could be entrepreneurs. We don’t see them as vehicles. We see them as businesses,” Jeff Cavins, Outdoorsy co-founder and CEO, told RVBUSINESS.com. “What we’re really about is empowering RV owners to generate income streams and create a business for themselves. And they use that asset — that travel trailer or motorhome — to do it.”
More than 12% of American households own an RV, but the majority will go unused 11 1/2 months out of the year, Cavins said. While owners’ investments sit idle in the driveway, many carry the burden of loan payments, storage and maintenance costs that can exceed $16,000 annually.
Recognizing an opportunity to unlock these underutilized assets, Outdoorsy created a secure platform for RV owners to recoup some or even all of their costs while providing access for the 45.6 million Americans who camp each year, but who have been priced out of RV ownership.
According to Cavins, Outdoorsy’s community-driven, global marketplace bypasses the hurdles inherent of brick-and-mortar dealerships and brokers, and connects RV owners with individual renters to make it easy and safe for them to do business with one another.
“We’re building supply and demand at the same time,” Outdoorsy co-founder Jen Young told RVBUSINESS.com, adding that it’s difficult to get a start-up up and running. “It’s sort of like flying an airplane off a cliff into the Grand Canyon and assembling it on the way down.”
The response thus far has been “amazing,” she said, adding that so far demand is exceeding supply. Young reported that each day 80-120 RV owners make their units available for rent and they “can’t shut the renter valve off” with a typical day seeing hundreds of people searching the site looking for an RV to rent. “Renters are going crazy looking for RVs to rent, and owners are excited to show off their pride and joy and pass along their love of RVing to someone else,” she said.
Outdoorsy handles all phases of the transaction, including availability calendar, reservations, deposits, cashless payments, while offering 24-hour support to renters and owners. A $1 million insurance policy covering both domestic and international travelers also is available.
A team of experienced professionals and travelers founded Outdoorsy. In addition to Cavins a well-known, serial entrepreneur and CEO, and Young, Tyler Burnell and Ryan Quinn are part of the management team. Quinn leads front-end development and represents the epitome of a digital nomad working and living from his “Vansion” – a vintage GMC motorhome. The company will also add Trevor Stout and Ollie Wagner, a former Apple designer responsible for the original UI and UX design of the iPad. Stout and Wagner join the team to roll out Outdoorsy’s mobile app experience, coming in the near future.
“Over the last few years there has been a resurgence of people looking to reconnect with nature and detach from the constant connectedness of everyday life,” Young said. “At Outdoorsy, we aren’t just looking to create the next big thing in the sharing economy, we want to create a community of passionate outdoor enthusiasts who are looking to connect and share their experiences with others. With Outdoorsy, users can experience the open road wherever, whenever and however they want. ”
For more information visit www.outdoorsy.co.